Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baby Pictures

This mother gator and about ten babies were sunning immediately adjacent to the elevated dike trail that snakes through Payne's Prairie from the Alachua Sink.
While I was photographing her, a helpful park volunteer drove up on his golfcartysorta thing, and said, "Watch her, she's grumpy."

I appreciated the tip, but I was very aware that it would be a bad idea to slipslide down the dike slope into her protective mother zone. I was really, really aware of this because about 100 yards earlier down the dike, I had stepped on a pile of cut dry dog fennel stalks and almost skated down to another gator I was attempting to photograph.
It was like standing on marbles on a hill ...
...with a gator at the bottom.

Let's just say it woke me up and I was being extra careful.

The gator babies were doing what babies do, eating, sleeping, exploring.

Mom's tail is a great place for safely basking in the sun.

For a while, being a baby allows you to walk on top of the vegetation. Later, when they are much bigger, vegetation is for lurking in and under.

Like babies of all kinds, naps are essential.


swamp4me said...

The baby on the tail is just too cute. We have seen no signs of reproduction up our way...maybe this year.

Anonymous said...

Great shots!!! Especially the baby on the tail! If I want to use your photos as a screen saver is that okay?


nfmgirl said...

Awesome shots! You gotta love (and respect!) the gators...


Sayre said...

Guy in golf cart-thingy has no way of knowing you know your stuff - I imagine there are plenty of idiots out there who don't understand that it's a bad idea to mess with gators, much less mama gators! He's just making sure you're not one of them!

Love the pictures. Baby gators are so cute!

Floridacracker said...

I hope this is the year.

Yes, I would be honored ... screensave away!

Words of wisdom. Respect the power.

I know, he was just trying to save my skin and I appreciate it. I think Payne's has a really dedicated group of volunteers.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Baby gators are so cute! My dad found one in a parking lot in the middle of town one afternoon and brought it home. We played with him for a little and then let him go in front of our house (on the intracoastal waterway)
He lived out there for a few years before moving on to greener pastures.
Momma gators are not so fun to play with LOL

Dani said...

That last picture is precious!
It's tough work being a baby.

kathy a. said...

never thought i'd say this about gigantic prehistoric carnivorous lizards, but those are some cute babies!

elpbulls said...

I love the pic with the baby on the tail and the little one walkin on the vegetation. Well the napping babies are pretty cute too! Guess I like them all lol!!! Love ya!

Kimberlee said...

What fun photos! I can't wait to show my kids the tail shot. I don't think I've ever seen one like that involving gators. Ya did good, FC. :)

Susan Rose said...

A female gator can be extremely maternal... that's another thing I'm impressed with. They're reptiles, but they have warm hearts.

Laura said...

Um, what are "dry dog fennel stalks?"

great pics, just don't show up to photograph after eating fried chicken. They *love* fried chicken.

Doug Taron said...

>Let's just say it woke me up and I was being extra careful.

FC: adrenaline junkie.

This is such a good series of gator photos. I've driven past Payne Prairie a number of times, and even visited briefly once. Looks like I should think about spending a lot more time there next time I'm in Gainesville.

Floridacracker said...

Yes, Mommas are best left alone!

Getting their beauty sleep.

Kathy A,
I imagine baby T-Rex's were too.

Gator lover!
Love you baby!

Thanks! I hope your kids enjoy them!

I know ... the tenderness and protection she offers during this period is pretty unreptile-like.

This may be why I find gators so easily ... I often smell like fried chicken.
Dog fennel = big ol nasty woody weed about 7 feet high.

Probably so, but I hate rollercoasters... go figure.
I need to spend a lot more time at Payne's also. I think I've been missing out on a nearby gem.

robin andrea said...

Very cute baby gators.